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Baby’s First CampNaNoWriMo

May 6, 2015

Greetings from a Camp NaNoWriMo Winner! This April I promised to write/re-write magical creature-centered short stories that have been knocking about my head for awhile, some of which I mentioned in my 12 Days of Blogging last Christmas. I delayed this blog post so I could tell you about the full experience, now that April is over.

Pre-April, I did a lot of pre-April things. I signed up for Camp on their website and set my word count goal for an ambitious 50,000. I thought, why not? I’m not going to do 50,000 if I don’t set it there. I planned to outline my stories and polish off one or two a week. I would finish drafts of three short stories and two novellas. And it would be awesome.

What a marvelous castle-in-the-air. Really too marvelous, so instead of doing all that, I decided to “pants” aka write on the fly (or “write from the seat of your pants”). Pantsing is hard. I have a newfound respect for pantsers. You have to constantly be inspired and listening to your characters and there’s no easy checklist of events to move the story forward. I couldn’t do it. I growled in frustration. I broke up with my manuscripts, only to come crying back. I broke down and wrote outlines.

Like abandoned gardens stuck in gothic novels, my stories grew wayward too. My word counts stacked much shorter than expected. In the middle of writing one of my short stories, I realized the characters were interesting enough to merit a novella, and in the middle of writing one of my novellas, I realized I could cut it down to a short story. The other supposed-novella had multiple previous drafts and I spent a day dithering which draft to work from.

My cabin, the supportive being it was, kept me going. They pointed out that 50,000 is much too high for a group of short stories, so I decided to be nice to myself and lowered it to 30,000. I let the stories tell as much of themselves as they wanted to, and set aside more days to simply write. I complained a lot to poet Cesar Reyes and texted ridiculous LGBT scenarios to the Invisible Ninja Cat. And lo, come April 30th’s end I’d written 34,000 words.

Taaaaa-daaaaahhhh! * throws confetti * My cabin was packed with winners, so we squeezed together and threw a digital confetti parade. Lovely stuff. As some of you know from my Twitter ramblings, I do plan on doing July’s Camp and I’m already excited. Quick plug that you may also know I joined Thumbtack, a website dedicated to finding you the right professional for any job. It’s easy to use and I like the aesthetic. If you’re looking for an editor I’m available for hire, and next blog post will probably be more tips for writing horses!

  1. Congratulations, Natalie! You did well and it sounds as though you learned a lot from the Camp experience, too.

    • Thank you! I feel like I’m a lot closer to being a more prolific writer, which is a good thing for me.

  2. Your last sentence makes no sense,

  3. Yay! Congratulations!

    • Thank you! Your recommended playlists from 8tracks really helped me through some tough spots. “Armani Suits and Viscera” basically became the anthem for the amoral werewolf pack and whenever I write this one character “Kill of the Night” starts playing in my head.

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